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McDonald’s Malaysia sues BDS movement for $1.3 million

BDS Malaysia disseminated social media posts allegedly linking the fast-food franchise to Israel's "genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza."

A McDonald's fast-food restaurant in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A McDonald's fast-food restaurant in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

McDonald’s Malaysia has sued the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement for “false and defamatory statements” that have hurt its business, seeking damages of 6 million ringgit ($1.31 million), Reuters reported Saturday.

According to the report, Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd (GAR), the licensee of McDonald’s (MCD.N) in Malaysia, filed the suit after the BDS movement disseminated a series of social media posts allegedly linking the fast-food franchise to Israel’s “genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.”

A Dec. 19 writ of summons obtained by Reuters alleges that BDS Malaysia incited the public to boycott McDonald’s Malaysia, resulting in a decline in profit and job cuts, among other damages, due to closures and shortened operating hours.

McDonald’s Malaysia confirmed it filed the suit against BDS Malaysia to protect its “rights and interests,” said the report.

In response, BDS Malaysia “categorically denie[d]” defaming the fast-food company.

Earlier this month, Malaysia’s government announced that it would block all Israeli-owned and -flagged ships, and any vessels headed to Israel, from docking at its ports.

“This sanction is a response to Israel’s actions that disregard the basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and continuous cruelty against the Palestinian people,” according to a government statement.

Malaysia has never recognized Israel, and citizens of the Jewish state are banned from entering the country. In 2018, its then-leader, Mahathir Mohamad, labeled Jews as “hook-nosed” and condemned Israel for creating chaos in the Middle East.

In recent years, Israeli security services have uncovered various instances of Hamas terrorists receiving military training in Malaysia, often with the tacit approval of local authorities. Hamas also sends Palestinian students to Malaysia for cyber-warfare training, Israeli media reported late last year.

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